Dice, Giant Monsters Destroying Tokyo, and Amazing Artwork; what more could you want?


King of Tokyo: Dark Edition (2020)
Designer Richard Garfield Artist Paul Mafayon Publisher


2-6 8+ 30-45m

In 2011, the original King of Tokyo was released. For those old enough to remember the original Godzilla and other giant monster movies, King of Tokyo was a neat concept that introduced simple game mechanics with this theme. The concept is straight forward; giant monsters want to destroy Tokyo (earning Victory Points [VP] or defeat all of the other monsters. King of Tokyo has been very popular resulting in multiple character expansions introducing new monsters to the game and a spin off game in New York, which introduced some new features. In 2019, IELLO announced a limited print run of a Dark Edition of King of Tokyo that would have darker artwork, premium components, and a new mechanic. Fast forward to 2020 when it released; it delivered on all of these promises.


Box and Components

The first thing I noticed about the new version was the feel of the box. I don’t quite know how to describe how it feels. Most boxes have a glossy feel your fingers just slide across, but this version has a velvety texture. It just feels and looks premium. The exclusion of text on the box keeps the focus on the beautiful artwork.

The insert is perfectly sized for the components in the game. Assuming they don’t add content to this edition in the future, this insert should be just fine. However, it may quickly get replaced if they add even more than just one monster.

Oh the art! I really like the noire look of the monsters and cards. The dark, evil appearance of the monsters are almost the complete opposite of the original, cartoonish versions. The art is very clean as well.

I was very excited to see the Broken Token energy tokens were included; the energy tokens are just more visually appealing when compared to the original energy cubes. The dice also have a premium look as well with the glazed look that also give them a different feel much like the box itself.



Basic King of Tokyo Rules

The gameplay of King of Tokyo is pretty straight forward. Monsters will be either inside or outside of Tokyo. When there are 2-4 players, only one monster will be inside of Tokyo, and with 5-6 players, there can be two monsters inside Tokyo. 

Turns follow this order:

At the start of their turn, if the active player is inside of Tokyo, they will receive 2 VP. 

  1. Roll Dice
    • On their turn, a player will roll 6 dice and may re-roll 2 additional times locking in any number of dice they want.
  2. Resolve Dice
    • Once the dice are locked, the following benefits can be gained in exchange for the dice:
      • Three 1s - 1 VP + 1 additional VP for each addition 1
      • Three 2s - 2 VP + 1 additional VP for each addition 2
      • Three 3s - 3 VP + 1 additional VP for each addition 3
      • Hearts - Regain 1 health for each Heart die up to 10 max; monsters in Tokyo can't regain health this way.
      • Claws - Deal damaged for each claw die to monsters in the opposite locations (monsters outside Tokyo attack ALL monsters inside of Tokyo and vice versa).
      • Energy - Gain energy tokens for each energy die; energy tokens can be exchanges for power cards. 
  3. Enter Tokyo
    • If someone was inside of Tokyo and received damage this turn, they must decide to stay in Tokyo or leave Tokyo.
    • If there is no one inside Tokyo, the active player must enter Tokyo and receive 1 VP for entering Tokyo.
  4. Buy Power cards
    • The player may exchange energy tokens for power cards. 
    • The player may turn in 2 energy tokens to refresh all of the power cards shown. 
  5. End of turn


The next player clockwise goes next. The gameplay options may change slightly depending on the power cards purchased. 

This is the basic game play until either one player has reached 20 VP or is the only monster standing. 


New Dark Edition Mechanic

To go along with the new dark theme, they introduced a new wickedness mechanic. Along the side of the board is a new track that goes up to 10. The player progresses along that track when they claim either a set of 1’s or 2’s. Once the tracker reaches the 3, 6, and 10 positions, the player may select a new wickedness abilities from the cards beside that location. Many of these abilities are similar to those purchasable with energy. These abilities are typically ongoing (keep) abilities.  


Final Thoughts

I love this new edition. I have most of the monsters for the original King of Tokyo and three different boxes of the original game (1st, 2nd, and Target editions). So I am bias, but if you are already a fan of the series or if you find the theme and a straightforward mechanics, I highly recommend giving this a try. It is simple enough that anyone can learn the game in under 10 minutes.

If you would like to see the game in action, we did a recording where we explain the rules and do a playthrough. We are still working on improving the quality of our videos, so please excuse that at this time.


Official Publisher Product Page

King of Tokyo: Dark Edition Board Game Geek Link